Unofficial Pride party ‘packed’ with revellers ends in tragedy as man collapses and dies

Josh Milton October 12, 2020
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Footage uploaded to social media showed attendees of an unofficial Atlanta Pride party just a shot glass width apart from one another. (Screen captures via Twitter)

Footage uploaded to social media showed attendees of an unofficial Atlanta Pride party just a shot glass width apart from one another. (Screen captures via Twitter)

An unofficial Atlanta Pride party ended in tragedy as a man lost consciousness and died.

The man died while attending a party at BJ Roosters, a gay bar on Cheshire Bridge Road, that stretched into the early hours of Sunday morning (October 11).

He was pronounced dead 8am at Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta Police told the WXIA-TV network.

After consuming ecstasy, the man was found in the club’s basement unconscious. The force found no signs of foul play, but an investigation is ongoing.

While a party-goer told the Advocate that the event was “packed” and “overcapacity at times”, Atlanta Pride organisers sought to stress that the club night was not an official Pride event, and that it had only approved virtual events.

Witness laments ‘tragic’ death of man at unofficial Atlanta Pride party.

The industrial bar heaved with party-goers, footage of the event shared on social media showed, for Xion, a gay circuit party thrown by Ga Boy Events.

The group had organised a roster of unofficial events during the Atlanta Pride weekend, including one at a shopping mall and another at District Atlanta – a club which held a made headlines after an August event which saw similarly packed scenes.

A Xion attendee told the Advocate that pandemic guidelines were not enforced by business owners or staffers at the event. He claimed the victim – a Black man in his mid to late 30s – fell to the ground at around 6:30am.

There were no emergency medical technicians at Xion, the witness claimed, with it taking more than 30 minutes for first-responders to arrive to the scene. “And I’m being generous,” he said.

Bar staff seemed “unprepared” to handle the medical emergency and it took some time for the music to be switched off. “It was tragic,” the witness added.

“I’ve been to parties all over the world, I have never been to one without EMTs. In my opinion, this could have been avoided.”

The death of the victim, who has not yet been named, came as footage of the gathering prompted sharp criticism from social media users.

Often against backdrops of fatigue, packed circuit parties have become flashpoints of resentment in recent months, drawing intense fury from social media users, local leaders and — chiefly — frustrated public health officials who note social distancing is among the most effective tools for stemming the spread of the virus.

As quickly as Georgia shut down, it swung back open. Coronavirus cases in the state have been skyrocketing after Republican governor Brian Kemp began allowing businesses to reopen as early as late April, against public health recommendations.

Bars operating amid the pandemic must follow strict rules outlined in Georgia Department of Health’s COVID-19 guidelines.

The code states that bars must “prevent activities that enable close human contact”, and that, for temporary outdoor events in which more than 50 people are attending, social distancing must be enforced. 

Ga Boy Events did not respond to PinkNews’ comment request at the time of publication.

More: Atlanta, coronavirus pandemic, Georgia, party, Pride, US

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